Type 2 diabetes and exercise

I seemingly have developed Type 2 diabetes following COVID, there is a pattern in family of developing it following illness, both my mother and uncle developed it after cancer, so my genetics seem to be mostly at fault!

I have always been an active cyclist and regular weight training up until COVID, i did an 80 mile gravel race in UK the week before i caught it, i probably have 6-8kg to lose weight wise, but any advice?

Weird thing is my hba1c being the marker for my blood glucose levels since COVID is 59 meaning definitely diabetic, but following diagnosis a fortnight ago, every Blood glucose test has been in the 4-8 range, so in target…so hopefully as i fully recover from COVID, lose the excess weight and get back to exercise i can control it. I have asked not to be put on medication yet, but to be reviewed in 2 months.

So question i guess really is am i best to start off slow and get the miles in Zone 2 after having 8 weeks off, and build up before i start on the more intense workouts and monitor fatigue, heart rate and blood glucose?

I guess i still need to fuel the effort well, so best have a long acting, low GI carbohydrate such as jumbo porridge oats an hour before, so it doesn’t create an insulin spike?

Thanks for any advice


I am going to weigh in here with the disclaimer that I do not have diabetes. However, my daughter is a Type 1 diabetic and I spent several years on the Board of our local ADA Step Out Walk. I have read much of the literature on the subject and have done a few presentations on non-medication options based on peer reviewed papers. So, not an expert nor a doctor, just an interpretation of what I have read.

The key is to start and not worry about intensity. You need to know how your body (specifically your blood sugar) is going to react. That will be easier to dial in with repeated Zone 2 efforts. Once you understand that, then you can add intensity.

While my daughter will always be insulin dependent, she still has to manage her blood sugar. When she eats and what she eats are different for days she exercises than days when she doesn’t. It was a very frustrating road to get to a place where she has a handle on it.

Set a plan and give it enough time to get to a point that you understand what is happening to your body. You will try things that don’t work. Just don’t give up.

If you haven’t read it yet, there is an excellent article published by the Harvard School of Public Health that you may find of value: Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Good luck.


Thanks for taking time to reply, sound advice thanks and reading the article now


One other thing you will notice is that exercise will temper, but not eliminate, T2D. Are you on continuous glucose monitoring? I HIGHLY suggest this as it will prevent you from going ‘low’. I ride with several T1Ds and that is the thing they fear the most. I would contact your medical team to see if you can be prescribed one. And your A1C isn’t really that bad. Here it would be considered borderline with a 6+ needed plus glucose levels in the 120 (U.S. measurement) range for several successive tests. Taking care of it now is better than what lies in the future if you don’t.

As a person with Type 1 Diabetes and former racer, sound advice! Keep up the great work @Scud A routine is key!


Hi Scud, as a disclaimer I am not a doctor and do not have any health qualifications whatsoever. What I do have is 18 years of being diabetic, I also was part of the test group on Germany for the Abbot sensors and have worn one ever since. I lost 45 kg in two years and got off the injections and the tablets through endurance sports, mainly running at the time (got back on both by being extremely stupid and „feeling safe“), I wish I’d have had my Sensor from the very beginning, it makes life so much easier. Just keep up your cycling, running, whatever, the more the merrier, over time you’ll see the effect, I’d suggest writing all your blood measurements down, before, during and after exercise that way you’ll see pretty quickly what foods work for you and what isn’t, the same with sport. Diabetes is a very personal disease so experimentation is the order of the day, have fun with it.

All the best



One thing I will add here is to test about every 30 minutes on a LONG or HARD ride. no need for most of the recovery/endurance ‘stuff’. You don’t want to go low during something like Do As You’re Told or The Shovel (and they have NICE recovery sections where you can do a check).

@Scud Check out Dr. Greger’s videos. Per the research Type 2 is reversible with the right modifications to diet:

Plant Based Diets Recognized By Diabetes Associations


Thanks all again for taking time to reply.

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Old post and all but in the last six months I’ve gotten more into body metrics using Oura, Whoop, and Garmin to get a sense of cardio strain. I’ve also begun checking glucose & blood pressure both before and after.

@JSampson mentioned this already but in November (day before Thanksgiving) I decide to focus on a plant-based diet.

I took that data and along with my doc I’ve removed Januvia from my daily routine (I still have all the other meds) and in a month, I’ll go back for an A1c check.

It’s not just one thing, of course, but putting on something like 300km/week on the cycle + diet changes (plants and intermittent fasting) + Whoop (tells me when to sleep) and I’ve lost about 5kg since Thanksgiving.

So just keep at it. SYSTM has carried the momentum I had with other virtual cycling platforms.


Sounds like positive movement to help reduce the effect of T2D on your lifestyle. Weight loss certainly helps with reducing what T2D does to your body. Hopefully, your A1C will head more towards a ‘normal’ level as well. Keep up what you are doing.


@anupgupta Great post! One of my goals for the year is yoga every day and I currently have a 134 day streak that started back in December. It is not hard if you plan for it every day.

I have to say that the fifteen-minute sessions that Abi Carver creates for SYSTM are an ideal length for a person who wants to get in some yoga daily, but travels or has an unpredictable schedule. They got me back to daily yoga after a 20-year hiatus, and have been enormously helpful in dealing with severe sciatica (essentially gone after 3 months of stretching) and the stress of multiple family medical crises.